During the birth of her third child, a pastor’s wife took off her wedding ring and threw it across the delivery room. The pang of giving birth was too much to bear. She then screamed at the mid-wife attending her saying, “this is my last child. That guy will never trick me into this stuff again. This is a trick you know? Never again” She said in absolute commitment. Few years later when I stopped to visit them, she had another child. This time they got a boy. The husband had convinced her that a son was essential for their survival. The first three were girls! I inquired what happened to her resolve not to have another child, “Shut up Teddy!” Was the answer I got! I laughed as I moved away from her kitchen. There are many weapons in the Kitchen and women know how to use them: They are masters.
The bible says that children are a blessing. A blessing? The pain of birth and the absolute misery that some parents go through trying to bring them up is a blessing? This is what the wise man wrote in the book of wisdom, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6 my buddy agrees with the latter, because grandparents just see these characters once in a blue moon: thanksgiving and Christmas. The other days, they are with the mother and the father. Or with their single parents! He sat with me the other day and agonized about children. Being a true democrat he surprised me for bringing Donald Trump into the conversation and declaring, in a moment of mental absurdity, “Trump has great children, the guy has brought them right man! I wish I could go back and get children I would raise them differently.”
He cannot go back now! It is done! Actually he can if he marries another woman. He divorced his wife in what legal language calls “irreconcilable differences”. His dilemma is the first years of having children. “I just can’t see myself waking up in the middle of the night to go check on a crying baby man! Can you imagine that stuff?” He began his lamentation. “I spoke to my daughter the other day and she told me that she is in love with this guy she does not even know. She wants to marry him! She is a great girl but man! She does not know what she is getting herself into. My son never finished college. I offered all financial help. I had enough money to pay for any college but he just did not pursue. Now I have to keep bailing him off this and that. My other son, I just don’t know man! Children” He concluded without conclusion.
My education is not in counselling psychology and my study of psychology was in psychological theory: I mean theory! Not these other stuff that counselors study. How do couples sit in an office with some Ph.D. and narrating what is going on in their life expect this character to deliver them from evil? I have always wondered how couples who live a daily life together from the bedroom through the toilet to the kitchen on a daily basis expect a therapist who has never spent even a minute in their house and its events to resolve their issues. That’s me! My buddy narrated how his wife convinced him to go to counselling. They entered this office and this strange character begun to ask them questions. “It was a setup man!” he told me latter. “She was there to accuse me of all the evils I have committed against her, including taking her away from her mother’s house and lying to her parents that I would take care of her.” They divorced.
Let’s go back to my buddy and his children. I sat there and listened to his lamentation silently and offered no solutions! My rational mind only deals with actuality and practical analysis. You see, even the man who wrote those wonderful words about children lived a life of misery. He and his sons were sleeping with the same women! King David and his home was a mess! That is why I love the bible. It does not sugar coat the life of men, even the men of faith. It declares all sons and daughters of Adam to be sinners and offers grace as the counsellor and therapist.
But the issue that got me intrigued is an associate who expressed concern and was in a state of shock to get a call from her daughter. She is one of these spiritual women. I mean spiritually oriented to the point of no return. Those people who believe that even their dog should be taken to church! Am not judging, am just stating the case. Her daughter called her from the hospital because she was giving birth! She eloped with her boyfriend and got pregnant without telling the mother. When her mother enquired how she can be so disrespectful, the daughter complained that she and her boyfriend were avoiding her church nonsense. “Mum you believe everything is church! It is not!” She told her mother.
She called me the other day, “Teddy, I took her to church with me every Sunday and she said nothing. She seemed to enjoy it. Can you believe that Teddy? What did I do wrong Teddy?”
What was I supposed to say? I really don’t know!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (Ph.D)
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist